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home : commentary : thisissue May 24, 2016

What a difference a year can make!
"No matter who you are, if you believe in something and work hard, then you can achieve it."
-Fatima Mohamed, see Changemaker 2012 story here.

by Kathy Magnuson and Norma Smith Olson

January started with the FBI redefining rape and by fall Missouri's U.S. Rep. Todd Akin was sharing his definition of "legitimate" rape in which a woman's body supposedly could shut down pregnancy at will.

2012 marked firsts for Minnesota Native American women. In a special election, Susan Allen became the first Native American woman elected to the state House of Representatives. Noya Woodrich became the first Native American to hold the office of president and CEO of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches and Janeé Harteau became Minneapolis' first female and Native American chief of police.

Girls initiated cultural change this year. A 14-year old girl from Maine got Seventeen magazine to stop manipulating the images of girls to be thinner versions than reality and three New Jersey girls launched a campaign that resulted in the first female presidential debate moderator since 1992.

The 40th anniversary of Title IX legislation noted how far women have come in education and sports-and how far we have to go. Today, 1 in 2.5 girls participates in athletics, compared with 1 in 27 in 1972. Yet women in positions of power in sports organizations are rare. Proportionally fewer female head coaches of female college athletes exist in 2012 than in 1972 (43 percent compared with 90 percent).

TCPride.KathyGriffin.InContentTile 5-2016

The power of women's votes was apparent in the elections of consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts; Tammy Baldwin, the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate; Heidi Heitkamp, the first woman to represent North Dakota in Congress, and the re-election of Amy Klobuchar and President Obama.

Every December, the Women's Press honors individuals and organizations that have made positive change for women or girls. This year's Changemaker honorees have made cultural changes on the global and local levels, focusing on topics of international women's human rights; an awareness day about Muslim women wearing hijab; offering 10 years of women's theater opportunities; and redefining bullying as sexual harassment. They use words like "gender justice" and "gender democracy." They challenge cultural norms. Some put out the call for men to step up and be a part of positive cultural change.

Changemakers inspire us. They show us that one person or organization-with a vision of a better world for women and girls-can really make a difference.

Coming up:
theme is the "best of Intentions." What are your intentions for the new year? Tell us about it. Send a paragraph or two to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Dec. 10, 2012
January Advertising Sections:
• Camp & Activities Guide
• Education & Lifelong Learning Guide
• Girlfriends' Guide to the New Year
• GoSeeDo Guide
Deadline: Dec. 10, 2012

February's theme is "matters of the heart." What matters to your heart? Tell us about it. Send a paragraph or two to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Jan. 10, 2012
February Advertising Sections:
• Health Guide
• Women & Pets Guide
• GoSeeDo Guide
Deadline: Jan. 10, 2012

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